Crash Blossoms

Crash Blossoms

I’m a bit of a language nerd and I mastered in journalism, so imagine my delight when these two loves of mine collided this week in the “On Language” column that runs in the Times Magazine. Micah and I both laughed out loud as we read some of the hilarity that ensues when headline writers try to cut their words down to the bare minimum — and beyond.
“Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge” is a good one, but we both just about busted a gut when we read that the “British Left Waffles on Falklands.” And we were both scratching our heads for a minute trying to figure out what the headline writer meant to say when “Google Fans Phone Expectations by Scheduling Android Event” popped up in print.

Anyway, I know some of you share my love of a little ambiguity here and there, so I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy.

Image from the Times. Obviously.

4 thoughts on “Crash Blossoms

  1. I love things like that, they're so funny. Have you ever seen the things that people put in church bulletins?? My favorite was something like, "Since today's Easter, each woman from the congregation will come up and lay an egg on the pulpit." Classic. :0)

  2. and btw i am the guy in the times story dan bloom who coined the term crash blossoms and i am a bloom, go figure. true. here is my latest coinage do blog on it someday: I wrote THE SNAILPAPER STATEMENT today, and here's a preview:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that while the Digital Age is upon us fast and furious, the print newspaper — hereafter dubbed the "snailpaper" — shall persevere as a good daily read, a fascinating look at the world around us and a valuable tool for understanding oped pundits and above the fold headlines. Sure, the dear snailpaper will also be seen as a useful tool

    for wrapping fish at the Fulton Fish Market or lining the bird cage in the den, but all kidding aside — har! har! — the daily snailpaper can hold its head high and be certain of its place in the culture. While news migrates in pixels and bytes to the Internet at an exponential rate, piling breaking story upon breaking story and turning everyone and his mother into a 24/7 news freak and RSS aggregator, the plodding snailpaper will nevertheless remain the bedrock of analysis and insight, from sea to shining sea, delivered at a snail's pace, yes, read at a snail's pace, yes, and absorbed, word for word — on glorius printed paper! white newsprint reflecting inked letters! — at a snail's pace, yes, as long as the Republic of Letters shall live."

    Full blast here:

  3. and….I see by the snailpapers in Britain that a major literary agent has signed up a top journo there to write an "on language" type of book about CRASH BLOSSOMS in the English-language media the world over, for publication in 2012 — and advance of US$25,000 is being reported, the writer keeping low profile, book capitalizing on Ben Zimmer's recent New York Times "On Language" article about said "crash blossoms" and how they, er, bloomed, er, blossomed ….. THE BOOK SHOULD BE A WINNER! BRAVO!

    No, the book won't be Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim, and Other Flubs from the Nation's Press published by Columbia Journal in 1980, before the term "crash blossoms" bloomed, and no, it won't be titled Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge a 1987 tome by Gloria Cooper. The title of the Crash Blossoms book is still tentative but for sure CRASH BLOSSOMS will appear in the title. Any suggestions for what to call this book? I will forward them on to the literary agent, the editor and the author.

    The book also will not be titled Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language which Richard Lederer did in 1987.

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